Cortical changes in incipient Alzheimer's disease.J Alzheimers Dis. 2010; 22(4):1339-49.JA
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is defined by memory impairment with no impact on daily activities. 10 to 15% of MCI convert to Alzheimer's disease (AD) per year. While structural changes in the cortex of AD patients have been extensively investigated, fewer studies analyzed changes in the years preceding conversion. 46 MCI patients and 20 healthy controls underwent structural 1.0T-weighted high-resolution MR scans at baseline and after 1.4 (SD 0.3) years. All subjects were assessed yearly for up to 4 years with a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. Sixteen of the 46 patients converted to AD (cMCI) while 30 remained stable (sMCI). An accurate voxel-based statistical mesh-model technique (cortical pattern matching) with a related region-of-interest analysis based on networks defined from a Brodmann area atlas (BAs) were used to map gray matter changes over time. At baseline, cMCI patients had 10 to 30% less cortical gray matter volume than healthy controls in regions known to be affected by AD pathology (entorhinal, temporoparietal, posterior cingulate, and orbitofrontal cortex, p=0.0001). Over time, cMCI patients lost more gray matter than sMCI in all brain areas but mainly in the olfactory and in the polysynaptic hippocampal network (more than 8% gray matter loss, p<0.024). sMCI patients had 10 to 20% less volume than controls in the posterior cingulate and orbitofrontal cortex (p<0.008) although their progression over time was significantly slower than cMCI. AD patients in the MCI stage show greater gray matter loss in the olfactory and polysynaptic hippocampal network. These findings are in line with neuropathological knowledge.